[P] Encanto
cent's birthday party. backdated. participants pinged in discord.
#1
Location: DCG, Charmingtown, Market Center, Sala de Flores Date: 27th December Time: Sunset -> Dusk -> Evening NPCs: - WC: 1537

Her house she cleaned twice and thrice and then four times, each time discovering a new nook or corner her rag and broom had previously missed. Anxiety made her sloppy and irritable, and the European would alternate between whispering prayers and muttering curses as she scrubbed and swept, polished and ironed. Whenever her weapons were lowered, she'd steal a glance out the windows to measure how much time she had until sundown - and the arrival of her first guests.

There finally came a point where the Sun was low and only the properties of the materials her house was made of kept it from sparkling with cleanliness. Cent carried the rusted bucket of sloshing dirty water into her meagre back yard, where the fires of the firepit and the makeshift oven crackled as if aware of their purpose and value. Once the water was splashed into a gutter the homeowner returned to check on the progress of her cooking. She lifted the cover of a patched metal pot and took in a deep sniff of the cabbage-wrapped meaty goodness within, a smile curling the line of her lips as she found it satisfactory. Next, she looked at the sticks of minced meat she had previously taken off the grill. One of them she broke in half, and found the center to be a nice and solid colour. She chewed on it as she crouched to check on the oven. Within, the loaves of flatbread and the meat pastry were a healthy gold, and the dog reached for thick scraps of cloth which she had repurposed as kitchen rags. With great care she took out the baked goods and set them to cool by the grilled meat.

Satisfied with what she'd made, the she-dog hurried up onto the back porch, trough the door and into her room, where her clothes for the party were laid out. They were a mix of items she'd bartered for, had been given and made or decorated herself, put together to as closely resemble the dress of her people in shape and colour. Usually the foreigner prioritized blending in with the Ashen, but for today and today only, she'd allow herself a smidge of scandalous exoticness.

She was only not daring enough to cover her hair, and instead settled on a complicated crown braid which left her bangs free.

[Image: dinner_party_flip.png][...]

Her guests came and she did not need to fake her smile nor force the wagging of her tail. Each of them was a person of value to the woman and each she greeted as lovingly as they appeared comfortable with, even managing a few nudges on the cheeks as was customary back in Boka. They said their congratulations and their birthday wishes, and she thought her tail would snap off from pure happiness at finally accepting guests into her abode.

Outrageously, some of them even brought gifts.

Again, Cent's stuttering and embarrassment were genuine as she assured her packmates that there was no need for such things, that this was really not that rare or important a milestone, and that they were never under any obligation to bring her anything and oh my God you made this?? For me???

Each gift she lovingly set aside, each donor she thanked with all her heart, until she was getting misty-eyed just from the sheer overwhelming kindness of her fellow Ashen. 

Once every canine she had invited was seated - on chairs mostly borrowed - at the table - that was actually three tables of slightly different shapes and sizes - the hostess brought out her cuisine, enlisting the help of a guest or two in carrying the pots and dishes - most of them, again, borrowed for the occasion.

There was a pot of sarma, minced wild meat rolled in leaves of cabbage and cooked in a tasty broth, then was served a tray of ćevapi, likewise minced meat, except grilled and served with diced onions and flatbread on the side to be used to collect the grease and juices, next deep dishes of pita and burek were laid on the table, the first filled with potatoes (generously seasoned with pepper the cook got from her trip to Portland) and the other with meat and onions. Finally, Cent went to her backyard and from under the porch procured the drink of the night, a big jug of imported mead.

When all the dishes were served and glasses were filled, the hostess took her seat at the head of the table, beaming at two rows of what she believed to be the most respectable individuals she'd met in the Gang. With great satisfaction she watched her guests interact, doing her best to entertain them and answer any questions they might have about the food or other topics, all the while battling the want to pile her plate high. She had went hungry for some days in order to provide her guests with this feast, not to mention all the Portland ingredients this culinary escapade sapped. It would seem another trip would await her in spring.

[...]

Cent wiped her lips with a scrap of cloth. The dinner party had advanced into the state that precedes drowsiness brought about by a full belly and alcohol. Judging the time to be right, the hostess rose, calling for quiet and attention with two subdued barks. 

Almost immediately after getting what she requested, the woman felt a strange vertigo come over her, despite having been sipping at the same cup of mead the entire night. A feeling of smallness and unimportance threatened to push her back into her seat, but the šarplaninac steadied herself, gripping her cup.

"Mah good Ashen folk, ah cannot thank ye enough for comin' 'n' attendin' mah lil' birthday party." She began, in the vernacular she spent a year mastering, and which flowed naturally from her masked maw. "As y'all know, ah turned three on this God-blessed day, sometime 'round noon if the midwife counted right. More importantly, 'n' maybe more worth celebratin', when we make it trough this winter it'll be a whole year o' me bein' part o' this 'ere Gang. Ah wasn't 'ere to see the Stockshow 'n' the first two o' our Ring be appointed, as ah was on in Palisade on personal business, but ah hear 'twas all real resplendent and other such thangs and can only hope ah'll be present for other such joyous occasions in the future." The dog transferring the cup of barely lapped-at mead from one hand to the other.

"Now... ah... ah don' real know how to lead into this. Ah guess ah'll jus' say it as it comes to me." She hesitated, chuckled, shifted her weight. "Y'see Cent ain't the name ah was born with. Ah was... ah was born Ćentum Velezub." The name rolled off her tongue in a crisp Slavic accent, letting slip the language that gave her accent its unique hue. "It ain't some big secret or nothin', t'was jus' a name ah was given, but threw away coz, well, the man who gave it to me turned out t' be a coward and a, 'scuse m' language, devil-taken cur." Despite the distance in time and spice, an ugly grimace still seized Cent's face and she gripped her cup tighter, remembering the man whose blood only served to sully her mother's. 

With a shaky sigh she forced herself to relax.

"Ah shed his name, an' soon after fixed my other one into somethin' more..." One dark hand made vague motions in the air. "... Fittin'. No-one minus mah mom called me Ćentum, 'n' once she was gone ah saw no point 'n' keepin' it, especially as ah travelled past where people knew how to say it." An inhale and exhale. "Point bein', ah never had much issue changin' m' name t' fit who ah was 'n' what ah stood for. N, well, ah thought 'twas good time for 'nother change." Some wispy beginnings of a smile plucked at her lips.

"Y'see, m' dear Ashen siblin's, your pack had been a home and shelter t' me when ah did not deserve it, 'n' after much soul-searchin' 'n' debatin, ah concluded God's will must be for me to remain in these here lands 'n' forgo m' ol' ways 'n' origins 'n' all that impossible fantasizin'." Her posture straightened. "From today on ah swear, ah'll be Asher from spirit t' soul, in life 'n' 'till death, 'n' to, uh, signify this, ah'll give mahself a surname, wi' meanin' that's appropriate, but in the language that is mah own." To show that no matter how I try, I'll never really fit in.

The hostess smiled in full.

"Cent od Pepela. Cent o' the Ash." 

She raised her cup. 

"To much prosper'ty, safety 'n' success to Del Cenere Gang, good thinkin' to our Rey n the Ring, good huntin' n health t' all a'us. May all know and fear a coyote's call!"

And with that she swung her cup and emptied what remained in it in a single gulp.

 OOC: happy new year everyone :DD let's kick this suso's ass!
[Image: ver_11.png]
#2
Morris was mildly surprised that he had even been invited to Cent's little party. Even more surprised at the outfit she wore for it, though it also brought a warm smile to his face. The lass certainly looked more comfortable in it, at least to his eyes, and he wondered why she didn't wear the same type of clothing more often. Knowing better not to ask in front of all the others, he found a place to sit, and sighed as Asher entered as well. The white coyote was a lot louder about his entry for sure. "CENT!! Happy birthday, here's the gifts, something from both of us." The taller male grinned and handed the gifts over, ignoring any argument that Cent might have about them. To Asher, Cent was like a sister, and to Morris she was a close friend, so of course they would bring gifts. 

Morris had made her a scarf that could be used on her head in the way he had often seen her wear. Asher had carved her a simple necklace, where if she didn't want to wear it, the little carving could be displayed on its own. They had both wanted to give her something she could wear, but really didn't have to if she didn't want to. Asher soon ambled over to Morris and sat next to him. Morris huffed but didn't say anything against the choice. The merle coydog had already guessed that Asher would sit next to him. They sat there in comfortable silence until the others arrived, and then Asher set his sights on the fancy Courtright before doing his best to flirt with the other male. ...which almost made Morris laugh. His friend was not the best at flirting.

Food was served and tasted unique on his tongue, but not horrible. Morris could guess it was something from Cent's homeland. After food and cheer, and giving in to a chuckle at Asher's expense, Cent gave a speech. Morris found himself staring at her as he spoke, the words hitting a part of him he didn't even know could be struck. Changing her name? Using...something she felt fit better... It made him think of his own name, and the part he had so far refused to use, though he doubted it was the same reasons that Cent had just voiced. Could he do the same, or should he just accept that he was just like the rest of his family? Turning his gaze down towards the table, he barely registered a cheer of congratulations from Asher and likely some others and only took a sip of his drink as Cent down the rest of her own. 

458 words; "Asher speaking"
#3
(300+)

While their host had insisted their pups were welcome, the sharpshooter couldn't help but worry that they'd be too rambunctious for a composed gathering. It wasn't that his children were ill-behaved, but they were young; he didn't wish to fuss over them for every little thing they did, and found their desire to explore and experience new things admirable, but he also understood how others could find their behavior a bit much.

Thankfully, Peony was invited to come along as well, another to keep the kids in line. Thoughtful as she was, she'd even handled getting the gifts together, something that wasn't the Courtright's forte. He was generous enough, and he could vocalize his appreciation, but he drew a blank when it came to deciding what an appropriate gift for Cent would be. She was an odd canine, not like the other Ashen he was used to, but she was pleasant and well worth the celebration.

Though the pups were squirmy and poked curiously at the food presented, they were far better behaved that Hosea had initially feared. Perhaps he had too little faith in them, as they were only getting older and more mature as the weeks went by.
He then turned to the foreign cuisine with piqued interest; it wasn't at all what he was used to, much different than what could be usually found in the bellies of those from Del Cenere or Palisade. But it all smelled delicious, and he was more than eager to get a literal taste of his fellow Ashen's culture.

As the time passed by, everybody seemed more and more relaxed, no doubt thanks to the mead flowing. The Gentleman was rosy faced under his fur, both from libations and laughter that came with a pleasant gathering of friends.

As Cent got her visitor's attention, Hosea listened carefully to her speech.
She was certainly odd, but he found that endearing. He found himself proud to know such an interesting individual, and happier to know she thought positively of him. He raised his glass along with her, calling out in agreement before downing his drink as well.
He felt honoured to be there as she granted herself a new name, fitting for her new start among new friends.
[Image: M8AUygW.png]
So come by west by east
↞ Come by drunk or sober ↠
Tell me what you've done
Over and over
#4
And by Him above, Daphne, so help me I will paddle that ass and send you back from where you came. It was whispered, harshly, as Daphne made comments about Cent’s vivacious hair. Wild, untamed, uncovered. Daphne made a noise somewhere between a gasp and a choked whimper. Peony silenced her with a kind smile towards Cent.

The La Oreja had doted over the gifts, given to Cent and Daphne— including little Tansy— both wanted to make their own gifts. Tansy’s was a pair of pine cones that the mother quickly made into a hair piece, something odd, but, it was for the odd cookie of their bunch of Ashen. Daphne’s gift was a bright red skirt, of which Peony helped her make, they fit her style, Peony had thought. While Peo preferred duller colors and browns, it seemed Cent was more into abstract ones.

A well loved woman, obviously by the crowd after she had already gathered, Peony presented her gift and kissed her cheek, squeezing her hand.

My dear, you look lovely, and you are so wonderful. Happy birthday. Peony had given the woman a satchel. Not just any satchel though, within it contained two gloves, made of rabbit fur, and so soft to the touch. It matched her pair gifted by her dear friend Azade. But among those things she had given her a flower printed jacket, made by Bennett, and embroidered with her name “cent” on it.

Daphne was next, toddling up, and then saying “Your hair is beautiful, you should wear it down more often— ahhhh, here’s my gift!” She shoved it at her, and Peony gave her a cross glance, Effie allowing their very tiniest Courtright to toddle upwards with the present in maw. It was covered in slobber, decorated with a purple bow, the same color as Cent’s eyes.

If she would have known the night would end in her fantastic, and odd, speech of claiming her last name— the Braithwaite may have had Benny write that upon it.

Once they retreated, she found her place at the table and grinned. Holding her Husband’s hand once she returned to him, the woman leaned in pecked his cheek. Daphne made a gagging noise. Tansy giggled. Peony laughed, full of mead and happy to be here among the newly proclaimed Cent of Pepela.
WORD COUNT - 388
#5
I want to believe - No, I choose to believe - That I was made to become - A sanctuary

OOC: Word Count: 492

The concept of a birthday was something that had surprised Freddy at first. He didn't celebrate his own; given he didn't actually know when it was, but simply reflected on 'feeling' older around each autumn time. But despite not knowing much of it, Freddy couldn't deny that it felt like a fun occasion, especially for Cent who deserved a bit of attention. To feel at home amongst the Ashen, given gifts and shown love by those she'd chosen to live with. Freddy had already made it clear to the dog woman that she was a friend, more than just a pack-mate, but he got the feeling that she wasn't always so sure of that herself. Perhaps a birthday would prove it then; when plenty of people showed up all there just to celebrate Cent existing. 

Making a gift would be tricky if Freddy didn't spend his free time just toying around with little trinkets. But something small like that didn't feel quite right, prompting Freddy to think bigger... literally bigger. Deonach had helped come up with the idea; claiming that one of the things he'd thought about back when they'd helped Cent move into her home was that the place needed more life, the kind one would find with decoration and memories. Something to hold in a frame. With that idea in mind, Freddy had made two frames for Cent; both made of wood that had been carved with a pattern of vines and flowers on each corner. One frame held a sketch from Deonach that was a view of Charmingtown from afar. The other, build thicker with the intention of being more sturdy, held a slate of dark stone. From a string attached to the side of the framed 'blackboard' was some chalk to use for it. Freddy didn't know what use Cent would have with the board, but the creativity behind it would hopefully spark something for her. 

Once they arrived and gave the gifts, the pair mingled amongst others and enjoyed the meal. Deonach commented quietly about having some similar before, a long time ago, before both were silent as they listened to Cent's speech. As Freddy predicted; this wasn't just about celebrating Cent being a year older. The woman had a statement to make, a claim to cut ties to her past and embrace a new future. Freddy could appreciate that; he'd certainly not claimed his father's name of Calloway after all, though he also intended on keeping his tie to Casa through his last name. Cent however, seemed intent on connecting herself more permenantly to Del Cenere, with a new name that brought a smile to Freddy's face. It sounded perfect, and Freddy happily raised his cup in celebration for Cent, and for the Ashen. A found family for all, a place the El Diente would continue to love and protect. 



Fredrick Knight

I want to take shelter but I'm ready, ready to fight.
Somewhere in the middle I feel a little paralyzed.
#6
Trelawney had a feeling he would always be left surprised by Miss Cent. Not only did she still want to interact with him for some reason beyond him, but she invited him over to a celebration she was holding. As he entered, it didn't surprise him to spot his brother Hosea there already. He already knew that Cent held his sibling in very high regard. Then of course Peony was here, either as a companion to his brother, or on her own invitation. The others he recognized in passing, especially the merle male and tall white coyote. Picking a seat, he was soon at the mercy of the lanky white male, who seemed to think flirting with Trelawney was the best path for the night. 

For his part Trelawney was polite enough but didn't return the favor. He didn't feel like having some random and likely only one night dalliance with someone he barely knew. Instead, he mostly focused on his food, because that felt safe enough, and he often glanced at the pile of gifts that others had brought with an uneasy feeling. It was not that he did not like Cent enough to get her something...he had simply not had the time or the memory for it. Perhaps if he had planned a bit better, he could have made her something, even if the quality would have been questionable. Perhaps he could make it up to her in some other manner...like sharing a bit gossip? Or perhaps he could trade for a bow and some arrows to give to her, so she'd have a weapon of her own. 

Smiling to himself as he decided the latter would do just fine, he found himself being brought from his thoughts by Miss Cent herself. She spoke of many things, including how she was going to change her name. This made his brows raise. Imagine that...changing a name to fit in better with the pack. Glancing at Hosea, he grew more thoughtful about it and even rubbed his chin. Then again, having no attachments to the Courtright name sure sounded appealing. Especially if it meant he could ignore his connections with his father. After a moment, he dismissed the thought, knowing that no matter the name he used, that people knew him too well to consider him anything but a lazy albeit fancy lay about. 

401 words
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